Adventures in Bookland: Swordfighting by Guy Windsor
This was a clear example of buying a book for its title: Swordfighting for Writers, Game Designers and Martial Artists. I’m a writer. A lot of my characters wield swords. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t committing any swordfighting faux pas in my stories and seeing that Guy Windsor is one of the leading lights of the contemporary resurgence in HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) I thought he would have a lot to teach me.
He did, but not about writing sword fights. Fellow writers beware. Unless you are really, really useless, there’s nothing in Windsor’s treatment of how to write a sword fight that you won’t already know. However, if you want to peer into the mind and practice of one of the most brilliant pedagogues I have ever encountered, then go for it!
What’s clear from reading Swordfighting is that Windsor is a committed, thoughtful and imaginative teacher who has considered long, hard and deeply how to teach swordfighting while remaining committed to the historical principles that guide his vision of swordmanship. As such, the book offers a valuable insight into the sort of pedagogical thinking that should inform any physical teaching (my wife, who is a voice teacher, found it hugely valuable) as well as speaking much about Windsor’s own journey as a man extracting an ancient skill from manuscripts and fleshing them in his own practice. Far more fascinating than it has any right to be!